Francesco Saverio Nitti - Encyclopedia




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"FRANCESCO SAVERIO NITTI (1868-), Italian statesman, was born at Melfi (Potenza) in 1868. He had already become known as a barrister and as professor of financial science at the university of Naples, when he first entered Parliament in 1904. He made his reputation as an authority on economic and financial questions, and was Minister of Agriculture, Industry and Trade in the Giolitti Cabinet of 1911-4. When the United States entered the World War in 1917 he was entrusted with an economic mission to that country, and certain of his utterances and acts in this connexion were severely criticized. He became Minister of the Treasury in the Orlando Cabinet from Oct. 1917 to Jan. 1919. On the fall of Orlando he succeeded him as premier, but his administration was a weak one, the Socialists and Communists being allowed to commit innumerable acts of criminal violence with absolute immunity. He was closely associated with the postwar policy of svalutamento. The exasperation of the majority of the country at his policy, and the indignation aroused by his treatment of the Dalmatians in Rome, as well as his failure to secure a settlement of the Adriatic problem, led to his fall in June 1920, thus leaving the way open for the return of Giolitti. On his retirement from office he returned to journalism and business.

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